Alex Jones has come a long way since his days of calling out the Federal Reserve, fighting the two-party paradigm, pushing for a real investigation into 9/11 and calling for an end to war in the Middle East. Now, he pushes anti-Muslim rhetoric, plays right along with the two-party paradigm, and serves as little more than a cheerleader for the current president, all while stoking divide all the way along.
Recently, his vitriol has gotten him thrust in the limelight once again and a concerted effort by corporate media giants to silence him and purge his information has taken place. On Monday, it was announced that Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube all permanently deleted the Infowars and Alex Jones Channels, Podcasts, and pages. Outside of their own domain, Infowars was nearly entirely purged from the internet.
While the thought of silencing this loud mouthed Trump-pumping Islamophobic blowhard may be appealing to you, the effects of such a coordinated move and ability of of these corporations to silence him are chilling.
According to a report out of the Guardian,
All but one of the major content platforms have banned the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as the companies raced to act in the wake of Apple’s decision to remove five podcasts by Jones and his Infowars website.
Facebook unpublished four pages run by Jones for “repeated violations of community standards”, the company said on Monday. YouTube terminated Jones’s account over him repeatedly appearing in videos despite being subject to a 90-day ban from the website, and Spotify removed the entirety of one of Jones’s podcasts for “hate content”.
Although he used to try to bring people on the left and the right together by exposing the establishment, Alex Jones now serves to divide them. Headlines like Fake Trump Prank Call Fools Dumb Liberal or Sweden Bans Christmas Street to Avoid Offending Muslim Migrants are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ignorant and outright hateful content put out by Jones and company.
But, it wasn’t the divide and conquer and hate peddling that got the attention of of these social media giants. It was when Jones challenged a politician to an imaginary political gun fight that sparked the ban hammer.
Last week, during the Infowars broadcast, Jones went on a rant pointing out special counsel Robert Mueller’s connections to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. During the rant, Jones challenged Mueller to an imaginary duel and used qualifiers like “politically” to state that he was not actually threatening physical harm but could stand up to him in the political arena. He then addressed Mueller while pointing his finger in a gun shape.
“That’s a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying. So that’s it. It’s going to happen, we’re going to walk out in the square, politically, at high noon, and he’s going to find out whether he makes a move man, make the move first, and then it’s going to happen. It’s not a joke. It’s not a game. It’s the real world. Politically. You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch. Get ready. We’re going to bang heads. We’re going to bang heads,” Jones swore.
While his words and body language were certainly questionable, whether or not it constituted an actual threat remains to be seen. Threatening a federal official with violence is a class C or D felony, punishable by up to five or 10 years in prison, yet no police action has been taken against Jones, likely indicating that authorities do not have enough evidence to charge him with an actual crime.
For the past two and a half years, Jones has hopped on the Trump train and pushed a level of divide akin to that of the mainstream media. Jones has co-opted his viewership and transformed the ones who stayed on into Trump-loving anti-Muslim fanatics.
This transformation caused a riff within the libertarian community as a whole and even inside Infowars with many employees jumping ship while others were fired and gagged.
His political enemies are likely salivating over the recent bans. However, even if you hate Alex Jones with every inch of your body, silencing him is a win for tyranny and censorship.
Regardless of what you think about Alex Jones, what is happening to him is the digital equivalent of book burning.
In a tweet on Monday, WikiLeaks summed up this scenario quite well.
The empire strikes back: Apple, Spotify, Facebook and Google/Youtube all purge Infowars/Alex Jones. Yes, Infowars has frequent nonsense, but also a state power critique. Which publisher in the world with millions of subscribers is next to be wiped out for cultural transgression? https://t.co/XAEQWr58hw
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 6, 2018
The power of these four companies wield to effectively wipe out an entire organization all within a 12 hour time frame is as immense as it is chilling. Sadly, because Jones was vitriolic, this ominous precedent is going to be carried out without much resistance and with overwhelming support.
Whether you hate Alex Jones is beside the point. Do you love the fact a handful of tech monopolists have the power to simultaneously purge him from the internet?
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 6, 2018
Alex Jones’ rhetoric whether hateful or not deserves its platform like everyone else. Ideas in the conversational realm fight for themselves. Racism, bigotry, sexism: these things are dying out — not because some corporate overlord with massive influence over the flow of information wiped them out — but because they were debated in the public sphere and those who held them were shown to be the idiots that they are.
When everyone is told what to think, and ideas — even racist and vitriolic ones — are kept from them, everyone becomes an idiot, completely dependent on this system of censorship to tell them what to think. A dangerously slippery slope indeed.
Alex Jones has become the first unperson in this war on information. It’s time to start paying attention before we all experience a similar fate.